We Help Good People Through Bad Situations
Mediation is a process which allows the parties to make their own decisions. The parties to a family law dispute meet with a trained neutral third party (the Mediator) who assists the parties to negotiate their own agreement.
Mediation is for you if:
- You want to try to stay out of court
- You want to keep costs as reasonable as possible
- You want to reduce stress and emotional costs
- You want to keep the details of your personal life private
- You want to be in charge of the outcome of your problem
A Registered Family Mediator:
- Will not take sides
- Does not try to effect reconciliation
- Does not impose solutions
- Helps everyone identify the issues to be resolved
- Explores everyone’s needs and interests
- Facilitates full disclosure
- Assists with options for resolution
Both Marla Miller, K.C., and Pierre Boileau, K.C., are Registered Family Mediators with many years of mediation experience.
Because Mediation is a settlement process, all statements made at Mediation are without prejudice; that is, off the record. If settlement cannot be reached, what was said at Mediation (with the important exception of statements made which may tend to show that children are at risk) cannot be raised outside of Mediation or used against either of the parties if the parties later end up in court.
An agreement reached in Mediation, especially as it relates to the division of matrimonial or family property, is not binding on the parties until each of them has received independent legal advice. The parties are thus encouraged to consult his or her own lawyer throughout the process as may be needed.
The Advantages of Mediation:
- Costs are usually lessened and shared
- You can arrive at tailor-made agreements which meet everyone’s needs and interests
- The process proceeds as quickly as both of you wish
- You’re able to preserve your own privacy
The basic premise of Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Divorce is the agreement of the parties to resolve their disputes without going to court. The purpose of this process is to minimize the negative economic, social and emotional consequences of litigation when dealing with family breakdown.
The Collaborative Law Process is structured:
- Following the principles of interest based negotiation
- Identifying each parties’ needs and interests
- Requiring full disclosure of relevant information
- Generating options
- Finding solutions that best meet both parties’ interests to achieve optimal resolution and facilitate the future well-being of both parties and any children involved
Each party retains their own Registered Collaborative Family Lawyer. The involvement of counsel ensures that each party has an advocate and that legal rights and obligations are considered. The lawyer’s sole purpose is to assist both parties in arriving at a custom-tailored settlement.
In Collaborative Law both the clients and their Registered Collaborative Family Lawyers agree that:
- They will voluntarily disclose all financial and other necessary information
- The issues to be resolved will be negotiated through meetings in which both clients and both Registered Collaborative Family Lawyers are present
- Neither client will resort to court proceedings
- If experts are necessary, they are hired jointly by the parties
In Alberta, as in other jurisdictions, lawyers who practice Collaborative Law are designated as Registered Collaborative Family Lawyers and are members of associations that set guidelines for their members and the training required to offer their services as Collaborative lawyers. Both Marla Miller, K.C. and Pierre Boileau, K.C. are Registered Collaborative Family Lawyers, each working with clients in Collaboration and the Collaborative process since 2001.
In some Collaborative cases the parties find it helpful to use a team approach with specially trained Collaborative Family Specialists and Collaborative Financial Neutrals taking on some of the work normally done by the Collaborative Family Lawyers, in an effort to expedite the process, refer to those with specialized expertise and minimize the costs.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process in which the parties hire a neutral third party, being a Family Law Arbitrator. The resolution to the dispute is decided by the Arbitrator who makes an ‘arbitration award’. The parties sign an arbitration agreement, which states that the parties will be bound by the arbitrator’s decision.
While the job of a Registered Family Mediator is to help two people agree upon a settlement of their family law dispute, an arbitrator’s job is to act like a judge and impose a resolution, after hearing the evidence and listening to the arguments of each party.
There is also an option to participate in a Mediation-Arbitration, commonly referred to as a “Med-Arb”. In this process the Mediator-Arbitrator will first try to see if they are able to help the parties reach their own agreement, failing which the Mediator-Arbitrator will order a binding decision to decide the matter. Like Arbitration, Mediation-Arbitration offers many advantages having regard to efficiency, cost and timing.
Miller Boileau Family Law Group is experienced in all aspects of family law, including Arbitration. In Arbitration, there are many options that are dependent on your unique situation. We will help you chart the right path for the best outcome for your children, your finances and assets and other disputes.
We can assist you by being your lawyer through all of these processes. Additionally, Pierre Boileau, K.C. is available to act as a Mediator, Arbitrator or Mediator-Arbitrator as he is well respected and experienced in these roles.
At Miller Boileau Family Law Group we make every attempt to educate our clients as to the alternatives to divorce such as Mediation and Collaboration. However, there are times when separating spouses are unable to work together to make their own decisions about finances, property, or the care of their children. In such cases, it is necessary to have a judge make those decisions.
There are many reasons to avoid court whenever possible. It is costly, time-consuming, unpredictable, and extremely stressful. When litigation is necessary to resolve your family law issues for financial reasons, or for safety or fairness issues, our experienced family law lawyers, Curtis Ready and Anne-Marie Lowther, will be your zealous advocates without losing sight of the human cost or opportunities for settlement.
Litigation is likely unavoidable when:
- There is a history of family violence
- Your children are at risk
- There is a significant power imbalance between you and your spouse
- You believe your spouse is handling family property or other assets inappropriately
- The other side is being unreasonable in their position having regard to the applicable law
Even when you believe that you are headed for Litigation or Arbitration — processes where someone else will be making the decisions that will impact your life and your family, we believe that Negotiation should never stop until you decide that you are done. There’s a saying that settlements are often reached “on the steps of the Courthouse”, meaning that even at the last moment, as you are prepared to walk into Court, settlement is possible.
Because we negotiate on behalf of our clients in almost every situation, we will give you our considered opinion on how you should be negotiating and what things you should be considering. We will discuss with you both your best and worst alternatives to arriving at a negotiated settlement so that you will be fully informed in order to make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Indeed, as Curtis Ready and Anne-Marie Lowther can assure you, knowing what decisions the courts may or may not make, allows us to provide this advice. You will always be in the know and all Negotiations are conducted with your full knowledge, following your instructions.
We believe in interest-based Negotiation as the best alternative, where possible, and not only do we take pride in offering principled Negotiation, but we have many hours of training to allow us to offer you excellence in representation at both the Negotiation table as well as the Litigation table.